Japan Today

Number of Tohoku volunteers exceeds 1.3 million


The estimated number of volunteers who have supported reconstruction work in the tsunami-hit Tohoku region was at least 1.33 million, according to the Japan National Council of Social Welfare.

According to the council, the number of volunteers who applied through local disaster volunteer centers peaked two months after the earthquake in 2011. At that time, around 182,000 volunteers were active in the region. Last year, two years after the disaster, the average number of volunteers per month was almost 10,000.

NHK reported that the number of volunteers is estimated to be much higher than 1.33 million, if the number of individual volunteers and those who supported the victims outside the stricken areas are taken into account.

Local disaster relief officials say there is still a need for volunteers to help elderly people with their shopping, help at ward offices and so on. Officials are encouraging students to consider spending part of their spring-summer vacation helping people in Tohoku.

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Send the JSDF.... They can help with construction too.....

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yeah, it is good that so many people are prepared to volunteer to help out. However, it is also pretty sad that, in a so-called 'modern' country the people of the devastated coast have to rely on volunteers cos they are getting bugger all from their government. I also agree the JSDF should be up there full-time to get the reconstruction moving. The majority of the tsunami refuges are I their 60's or older. I fear most of them will be dead before they get a chance to return home.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The JSDF did an awesome job in the days, weeks and months after the disaster.

It's an awesome number and doesn't include the people that delivered aid etc as well

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The JSDF are still needed in Tohoku for real and not just to monitor the radiation levels for MEXT

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The spirit of volunteerism is admirable. Hats off to everyone who helped the victims!

That number is impressive but that's 延べ人数, right? (延べ人数 means if a person went up to Tohoku 4 times, that would be counted as 4 people.) In English, we tend to count each individual only once.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But it just isn't the simplistic matter that many commenters would have it. I hope the ranters at least are putting an equal amount of energy into helping Tohoku recover.

Amen to that!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That's a lot of people, a lot of work done, and a lot of labor costs saved. Much appreciated but ........... why doesn't the media report more of the results? I seem to only hear what's not done yet. 1.3 million people I'm sure can do a lot.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

people with skills in construction are needed in Tohoku. Not empty Handed volunteers to help elderly people with their shopping. There are enough Youngsters in Tohoku for that already. A.D.D on JT....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

NPOs on the ground in Tohoku received $3 billion in donations from companies and the public, in response to the estimated $300 billion in damages.


The Japanese Red Cross has received over $600 million from sister societies around the world. By the end of December 2013, more than 74.7% of these funds had been spent or committed on specific recovery programs that benefit survivors of the disaster.


Volunteer with NPOs....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not empty Handed volunteers to help elderly people with their shopping. There are enough Youngsters in Tohoku for that already. A.D.D on JT....

Stunned. Is that what you think people have been doing? Going along, having a nice cup of tea and a bit of a jaunt?

No. They've been working bloody hard, back breaking in extreme conditions. They've been cleaning out houses, digging ditches doing any number of manual work. On their weekends. In their own time. They are simply awesome people.

I wonder what you've done?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Be Real Heda even You were with a NPO.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In the beginning Empty Handed Volunteers were turned away because they did not even have supplies to feed themselves. less no a place to sleep. It's better to go through an NPO.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I was involved with an NPO but also did a lot on my own/through friends.

But I don't really understand your initial post... a heck of a lot of people have done awesome things. In their own time. Off their own back. Even if they were with an NPO who was organising everything. NPOs don't work without volunteers.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I first went up with an international NPO. Worked a lot with that group. Met lots of people. I have orked with / through at least 7 NPOs all together, some locally started, after the tsunami. And sometimes I work without an NPO, through friends.

Two NPOs I've worked with have small vans they use to take old people shopping. It was important when the new bus routes didn't have shelters yet. And it's also important when people are moving out of the temporary units into new housing - they need to buy more things than they can carry on the bus.

There are lots of things that people can do. If it's your first time, an NPO is the easy way to go. But if you're not sure if the work they do is important, don't worry, just go. You can rent a car. Book a hotel nearby. See the sites for yourself. IF you get involved in volunteering, you'll get more opportunity to speak to people who want to speak. And you'll get a deeper understanding of what's happened and what's happening.

At the very least, go. See. Hear.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

NPO's Know the lay of the land and know where Your talents can be most useful in reference to volunteering.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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